Neither the US nor the EU morally qualified to lecture St. Lucia on human rights (letter to the editor)

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Neither the US nor the EU morally qualified to lecture St. Lucia on human rights (letter to the editor)
File photo of police officers during a parade.
File photo of police officers during a parade. The police chief had promised to send over 200 officers all over Castries to safeguard the Carnival activities. * File Photo
File photo of police officers during a parade. The police chief had promised to send over 200 officers all over Castries to safeguard the Carnival activities. * File Photo

Dear editor: On January 12, the US Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean issued a statement in which it called on the government of St Lucia to act with regard to the alleged extra-judicial killings carried out by members of the Royal St Lucia Police Force in the period 2010 – 2011.

It also demanded action on the findings of the Caricom Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) investigation into these killings which were issued in March 2015. The US embassy declared that it was urging the government of St Lucia to uphold the rule of law and further stated that the measures taken so far by both the St Lucian government and police force were insufficient to demonstrate St Lucia’s “commitment to the rule of law”.

Two days later, an EU delegation led by Mikael Barford, the EU ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean Countries, and including the British High commissioner based in Barbados and the French ambassador based in St Lucia met with St Lucia’s Prime Minister, Kenny Anthony, to further address this issue. Speaking to a press conference following this meeting, Barford declared that the St. Lucian government has to take action on the IMPACS report in order to demonstrate that it upholds the principle of the rule of law.

He demanded that the vacant positions of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and their deputy be quickly filled and that the government make available resources for these to carry out their work. He added that the EU delegation had plans to meet with the opposition to discuss this matter and stated that failure of the St. Lucia government to act in the ways stipulated by the EU would have a negative effect on St. Lucia’s tourism industry which is the mainstay of the country’s economy.

The US embassy statement and the EU delegation’s meeting with Kenny Anthony represent a gross interference by these big powers into St Lucia’s internal affairs. It is of course also rather ironic that those who are today lecturing St Lucia on upholding the ‘rule of law’ and defending human rights have their own sordid history of extra-judicial killings, torture and gross human rights violations.

From the destruction of Iraq and Libya, through to the assassination of numerous individuals both with drones and other means and their well-publicised torture chambers in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Camp Bastion and elsewhere, the US, British, French and other EU governments have disqualified themselves from lecturing anyone, including St Lucians, on upholding the rule of law and defending human rights.

It is rather ironic that while the US government is demanding that St Lucia demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law by prosecuting those police officers accused of extra judicial killings, in the US itself police officers are routinely killing black people and walking free without any sign of a prosecution. Not surprisingly, St Lucia or other Caribbean governments have not called on the US government to ‘demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law’.   

The colonialist arrogance of both the US and EU and their gross interference in our region’s affairs highlights for the people of the Caribbean the urgent need to change our political and social reality so that our formal independence becomes something real. There is no justification for the extra judicial killing of citizens by the law enforcement agencies but this problem has to be addressed at its roots.

The reality is that the modern Caribbean, established on the basis of genocide, slavery and colonialism, has never been geared to meeting the needs of the Caribbean people. In fact, it is precisely the old and new colonial powers of Europe and north America which have done immense damage to our region, by plundering our human and natural resources. The extent of this damage can be seen that there has always been a steady stream of Caribbean emigration from what are some of the most beautiful islands on the planet.

Today the situation is being worsened by the blind application of the neo-liberal economic dogmas, which is being demanded by the same US and EU and the organisations they control like the World Bank and IMF. What were already distorted economies based on providing external powers with agricultural produce like sugar and bananas have now been herded into being tourist destinations.  

Despite the announcement of record tourist arrivals, there is no sign of economic well-being for the mass of Caribbean people. For example, youth unemployment in St Lucia stands at nearly 50% and these conditions breed economic desperation and open the door to young people becoming trapped in criminal activity. Added to this is the economic desperation even of the Caribbean governments which find themselves without the necessary economic resources to carry out their basic functions on behalf of society. Today, Caribbean governments have become so desperate that they have begun selling citizenship to the highest bidder.

The inherited colonial structures allied with the government’s lack of resources leads to dysfunction of basic services such as justice. In many Caribbean countries, including St. Lucia, the old colonial judicial system has proved itself unfit for purpose. Cases drag on for years, criminals are not brought to account for their crimes and citizens are denied access to justice. These are the conditions which give rise to the police killings of citizens.

To address these problems, St. Lucians, like other Caribbean people, have to start an open discussion to explore how we remake our societies so that they serve our people’s needs; where our wealth is used for the betterment of all in our societies, every public servant is held accountable and those who commit crimes are held to account. This is a discussion which has nothing to do with the US and the EU.     

(36)(27)

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Demands, Demands, Demands. This is another Invasion in the making. These people can't Rule their own Country properly but stick their noses into other people's business. Are they not the ones who say NO Death Penalties!??

    Are they not the Ones who send in the so-called Human Rights Lawyers to save the Murderers!?? They create the problems for us and then say nothing is done to stop the Killings. But they send their Troops to foreign lands to kill innocent people while saying they are fighting Terrorism (It's all right for them to Kill but not for us to Execute Murderers).

    Look at the infrastructure and living conditions of the foreign countries their troops occupy. How is anyone's Lawless country worse than theirs!!??

    I do not support lawlessness in any form NOT even from those who Pretend they are only trying to help.

    If you told them a Sovereign State how to run their country, How do you think they would react!!?? Have any of you noticed they NEVER speak or threaten certain Countries. I leave it to you to figure out WHY?.

    (3)(0)

  2. Dear writer, it is of great importance you stay anonymous, Your visa may get pulled next. Anyways Us and the EU are world powers and they get their way no matter what. We have nothing but tourism, that tap can be turn off if they so decide and we then will be like Venezuela is now. Cuba stayed alienated for more than 40 years. Now taking steps to come out of it. Iran another prime example. So we just have no choice in the matter unless you want to live in a prison camp like in North Korea. Please speak to your BOSS KDA, tell him to do the right thing not sometimes but all the time. We were promised good governance, all we gotten so far was greed, unemployment, poverty and deception. Thanks for your understanding.

    (4)(1)

    • 1. Whether or not he stayed anonymous, they would still find out, (CIA, MI6)
      2. Yes they do always get their way, because they are literally in charge of governing themselves ( The united nations is ran by europeans, overseeing europeans, its a mystery how no one sees a problem with that)
      3 If they decided to shut down tourism to our island it would have a severe backlash because the entire world would disapprove especially the people from their own country, america and europe are in hot water right now.

      to add to point number 3, ive always said that our tourism sector is doomed to fail and CIP was the nail in the coffin it needed. Tourism is sort of like begging people on the roadside for money. if they give you then you good. if they dont, then what are you supposed to do? we have no life support for our economy and tourism is about to crash.

      (0)(0)

  3. Where is the human rights when that same US does target its own citizen with those drones I think that's similar to the police targeting criminals. They wanna protect their own country any way possible but others can't do the same. Smh

    (0)(0)

  4. The letter heading concisely says it all! Your final paragraph challenges St. Lucians to become active citizens, and to eschew the slave mien of waiting in vain for massa (via his divisive partisan politics) to ameliorate our condition.

    (0)(0)

  5. Some do not realise that behind that lengthy piece written and sold to them are SLP operatives hard at work trying to distract us from the bigger problems. Their message is dont focus on us. Just focus on the EU and the US. They have the problem not us.

    What you have just read is a gimmick. St Lucia has tons of problems. It is among the Caribbean countries with the highest debt to GDP ratios. It has the lowest international human development index in the Caribbean. All countries are in a better shape in the Caribbean. It scores just one point below Jamaica. That is bad news.

    We are being governed day by day by arrogance and incompetence and our nation's business are run on the basis of who knows who. That itself is a crime against our development as a nation.

    We can never prosper with that mentality of only supporting those we benefit from or supporting other rogue people in positions who are bad for the system simply because we know them or they are so and so.

    Our justice system has become a well known failure nobody takes it seriously. Crimes are being committed with impunity at all levels, white collar, black collar, every type of crime we know of.

    No-one is being held to account. We can go ahead and take this attitude internationally and we are too arrogant to think of the repercussions of our crime. This is bad for St. Lucia. It is bad for me and you who have to live daily with this day in day out.

    We are becoming a nation on the brink of disaster. The EU sees it. The US sees it. Our governance is in a mess.

    (11)(1)

  6. The EU holds the purse strings. We go to them for funding , so they will be all up in our business unfortunately.

    (0)(0)

  7. The EU and US don't help our economy, they throw peanuts at us, build a prison in Jamaica instead of a school or a factory for people to work. St. Lucia is still using a stadium as a hospital, the city of Castries is a dump and they want to tell us how to govern our country.

    (0)(2)

  8. very well articulated commentary....i would like to know who are the idiots that are giving thumbs down?

    (1)(0)

  9. This is the best letter ever common ppl its a democracy not dictatorship stop letting them dictate our lives

    (0)(0)

  10. you should have expanded on the point of view you expressed at the end because that is what we need to be talking about. we need to start taking personal responsibility for our own destiny. Human rights in saint lucia SHOULD NOT HAVE anything to do with the US or EU but would SAINT LUCIAN authorities EVER EVER EVER have sought justice for this atrocity had it not been for those slave masters? Let that sink in...

    (12)(2)

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